Thursday, May 14, 2020

Covid-19 and No Fate but What We Make

I've always thought our future would resemble the scenario imagined in the film, Children of Men.

Now I see that my premonition is unfolding before my eyes in news headlines and social media discourse. But I also remember that we have existential freedom. We choose our fate.

There is only one way out of this disaster that we see unfolding before our eyes.

The only viable path forward entails these key elements/steps:


Information on the nature of the virus and human susceptibilities is currently fraught and contested. We need more effective and honest risk communication regarding nature and degree (short term and long term) of risk from virus synthesized by independent experts and articulated by respected authorities, leading to sensible and sustainable policies for limiting spread and treating impacted individuals and those who care for them (broadly conceived to include health care workers, grocery workers, etc)


The future is looking more and more authoritarian and exploitative. To the extent possible, LIBERTY, EQUALITY, JUSTICE and the PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS must be preserved and cultivated rather than discarded as currently happening.


The ongoing economic collapse is terrifying. If this continues, civil disorder will be upon us. Full economic support must be provided for the unemployed, the under-employed, and the otherwise economically vulnerable. Put aside your fears of "free riders" and "deficits." Our very being is at risk.

The public has erroneously been encouraged to fear deficits. However, this fear of deficits is a control mechanism used cynically to promote austerity (i.e., cuts in social spending and public support for education, transportation, etc). Austerity and deficit talk discipline and disempower the public, as explained by the "banker who came in from the cold," Joseph Stiglitz.

In contrast, Public Banking is rooted in an economic model that argues that nation-states and other sovereign entities have the power of coinage. They can produce money. The idea of banking in the public interest has deep roots.

The public Bank of North Dakota provides a US example and public banking is expanding into California. Public banking can invest in the social, ecological and economic welfare of communities through direct transfers and, even more importantly, in local infrastructural and economic development.


The time for local is now. We absolutely must adapt by bolstering our local capacities to meet FOOD, ENERGY, and other critical needs sustainably.

Funds from all available sources - public and private - national and local -  MUST be directed at bolstering communities' capacities to meet local needs (with the definition of local varying across geographic areas contingently).

Development should be sustainable ecologically, economically and socially in contrast to our current hazardous system (see Pollan's critique).

Local infrastructures must be grounded in respect for political pluralism and must be perceived widely as just, inclusive and democratic to the extent possible.

New trade pathways will emerge as localities trade in their area of specialization. This was, of course, Adam Smith's ideal market interaction based on trade among equals with varying specializations.

Nuclear energy is not the solution. Workers are old, and many are difficult to replace because of their expertise. They've been exposed to ionizing radiation at levels predicted to impact their longevity.  They are very likely to become ill and that could impact energy production, with terrifying consequences.


We are still waiting for leadership to emerge. It is still missing in action.

Leadership must be organically authenticated. That is, the type of leadership we need now is trusted by people across the diverse realms of everyday life. This means that leadership must emerge at local levels.

But simultaneously we need leadership at a national level to enable and empower more geographically-situated organizing.

Corporate executives and government officials need for once to put aside ENTRENCHMENTS and AVARICE for the welfare of the global and national assemblages that are collapsing before our eyes.

Spiritual leaders and organic story tellers must put aside their sectional divisions and come together in acknowledging and succoring humanity's shared fate.

I realize that our children are going to be traumatized by this great unraveling. We must all do what we can to love and protect them.

Local organizations that advocate for, and address, the needs of kids must be supported and empowered.

Children are our future. We must LOVE them as never before. And we must not only love our own children, but we must love the world's children for their fate is our own.


The film serives Terminator in episode reminded us that as conscious beings who have terra-formed the earth - in ways beautiful and heinous - we still have the choice to make a better world: